Dairy Grows Through Family and Faith, CDI’s Vander Woude Says
Despite policy challenges, family-run dairies continue to grow and succeed through dedication and faith, California dairy farmer Simon Vander Woude, the chairman of California Dairies Inc., first vice-chair of NMPF and a member of its executive committee, says in an NMPF podcast.
“We begin every day acknowledging that what we have is not our own, it's a gift from the Lord, and we have to be good stewards of the gifts that He's blessed us with,” Vander Woude said. “We've been very blessed here.”
That stewardship is expressed in many ways, from caring for the environment to seeking new opportunities to serve consumers in the United States and worldwide, he said. Vander Woude, who testified before a congressional subcommittee last year on the need to expand global market access, said that while domestic consumers continue to want dairy products, overseas sales are the key to harnessing dairy’s growing productivity and international demand.
“If 20 to 30 percent of our milk products are going overseas today and our domestic market is pretty stable, it's growing at a smaller pace than what we can grow our milk markets,” said Vander Woude, who also sits on the board of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “We need to continue to explore trade agreements with countries that will benefit the U.S. dairy industry.”